One of the great things about building your own computer is the ability to pick your parts. You are in control of the end result and if we remove cost from the equation there is virtually nothing you cannot attain. Sadly, budgets plague the custom PC world and I can honestly say that when it comes to PC components you almost always get what you pay for.
Take for instance a high-end gaming rig. Your plan is to have options for mild overclocking, and upgradeability along with excellent sound. You also like the idea of a DIY watercooling loop for the superior thermal performance and if done correctly can look amazing in a build.
With this plan in mind you have a few options. Your first step will be to visit many of the custom waterblock manufacturers to see what they have available and build your system around what you can get. This is a great option as you can pick up a CPU block and GPU block relatively easy but that leaves many heat producing components open with standard heatsinks attached. There are options for full coverage waterblocks that cool the CPU and motherboard VRM however, the supported motherboard selection is extremely limited.
When you factor cost into the mix you’ll quickly understand that it ain’t cheap.
In this review we will be looking at a product that checks all the boxes, smashes the bells and blows all the whistles. This product is built on a foundation of overclocking that spans over decades and has one of the highest quality onboard sound systems I have ever tested. On top of that this board features all of the modern custom PC trends including an eye-catching design, multi zone and expandable RGB LEDs and a full coverage AIO (All In One) waterblock.
The Aorus Z390 Xtreme Waterforce
Aorus is a standalone brand supported by Gigabyte as their high-end gaming product line. It has recently expanded rapidly to encompass everything related to gaming from headsets and keyboards to memory, graphics cards, motherboards, power supplies, and almost everything in-between. Additionally the Aorus Xtreme motherboards have also consumed many of the enthusiast oriented found on the older SOC (Super OverClock) motherboards, giving them the ability to go on some amazing overclocking adventures without any modifications.
- CPU: Support for 9th and 8th Generation Intel Core processors in the LGA1151 package (Please refer to "CPU Support List" for more information.)
- Chipset: Intel Z390 Express Chipset
- Memory: 4 x DDR4 DIMM sockets supporting up to 128GB (32GB single DIMM capacity) of system memory
- Onboard Graphics: Integrated Graphics Processor+Intel Thunderbolt 3 Controller
- Audio: Realtek ALC1220-VB codec / ESS ES9018K2M DAC and TI OPA1622 operational amplifiers
- LAN: 1 x Aquantia GbE LAN chip (10 Gbit) / 1 x Intel GbE LAN phy
- Wireless Communication module: Intel CNVi interface 802.11a/b/g/n/ac, supporting 2.4/5 GHz Dual-Band
- Storage Interface 3x M.2 connector / 6 x SATA 6Gb/s connectors / Intel Optane Memory Ready
- Multi-Graphics Technology: Support for NVIDIA SLI / AMD CrossFire
- Form Factor: E-ATX Form Factor; 30.5cm x 27.1cm
- Supports 9th and 8th Gen Intel Core Processors
- Dual Channel Non-ECC Unbuffered DDR4, 4 DIMMs
- Intel Optane Memory Ready
- 16 Phase IR Digital VRM Solution with PowIRstage
- Cutting-edge AORUS All-In-One Monoblock for both CPU and PCH area.
- Onboard Intel CNVI 802.11ac 2x2 Wave 2 Wi-Fi with All new AORUS Antenna
- 127dB SNR AMP-UP Audio with High-End ESS SABRE 9018K2M DAC, LME 49720 and OPA1622 OP-AMP, WIMA audio capacitors
- AQUANTIA 10GbE BASE-T LAN and Intel Gigabit LAN with cFosSpeed
- Intel Thunderbolt 3 onboard
- Exclusive RGB FAN COMMANDER and OC Touch for professional casemodders and overclockers
- USB TurboCharger for mobile device fast charge support
- RGB FUSION 2.0 with Multi-Zone Addressable LED Light Show design, support Addressable LED & RGB LED strips
- Smart Fan 5 features Multiple Temperature Sensors and Hybrid Fan Headers with FAN STOP
- Front USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C Header
- Triple Ultra-Fast M.2 with PCIe Gen3 x4 interface with Triple Thermal Guards